03 May The Impact of One Simple Decision

During the day, I spend most of my time as the general manager at an athletic club. A couple of years ago, we decided to add some fitness equipment to help us keep up with our growing membership. Additionally, we moved around some cardio and strength equipment to improve the overall client experience. Throughout the day, most of the decisions were no brainers. However, there was one situation that challenged us.

The Most Challenging Situation

The last move that we considered making was flip-flopping the locations of two indoor rowers and two Nustep machines. An indoor rower simulates the action of watercraft rowing for the purpose of an exhausting full body workout. A Nustep is a recumbent cross trainer designed mostly for those with mobility limitations.

Before swapping the rowers and Nusteps, I talked to my fitness team about the situation’s positives and negatives. The number one positive was that we would be putting the two rowers with the other six rowers, thus giving us the ability to increase the participation of our high intensity classes. The number one negative was that we would have to move the Nusteps another 100 feet away from the main entrance, thereby creating a longer walk to get on them.

After discussing for ten minutes, we decided that it was a 50-50 proposition because we thought that our list of positives and negatives balanced each other out. Ultimately, it would be me who had to make the final call.

The Final Decision

Without taking any additional time to reflect, I decided to officially make the swap, mostly because I didn’t think that an additional 100 feet of walking was going to be that big of a deal for our members. So the managers and I shuffled the final pieces of equipment around.  Surprisingly, I did not hear any positive or negative client feedback over the next 48 hours. The next 24 hours; however, were quite different.

While I was wrapping up a meeting, a couple in their mid-70’s checked in at the front desk. The two members walked to the area where the Nusteps used to be. As soon as they realized that the Nusteps were no longer in the same location, they walked back to the front desk and inquired, “Do you know what happened to the Nusteps?” Our front desk team member wasn’t 100 percent sure, so she paged me for assistance.

The Impact of One Simple Decision

I remember it like it was yesterday. As I was walking up to the front desk, I saw the couple that wanted to speak with me. I noticed that the lady used a walker to support her. Immediately, I had an inkling about what was going to happen next.

The gentleman said, “Are you the manager?” I replied, “I am! My name is Derek. How may I help you?” He responded, “I am John and this is my wife, Sue. Did you get rid of the Nustep machines?” I replied, “Nope. We still have them. A couple of days ago, we moved them to a different room. Let me walk you to the new location.”

As we started walking, I quickly realized that we were going to be walking for a long time because Sue could only walk two inches per step. Inside, I realized my decision would impact some members more than I anticipated. I remember thinking to myself, “Ugh. I misjudged the people who really need the convenience.”

Should I Overturn My Decision?

About five minutes passed and we had only made it to the location where the Nusteps used to be, which meant that we still had an additional five minutes to go. I turned to the couple and said, “Wait. I’ll be right back.”

I jogged to grab the Nusteps from the new location and rolled them back. While Jim was helping Sue on to the machine he commented to me, “I really appreciate you moving the machines back.” I nodded my head to Jim, knelt down to Sue, and said to her, “I’m terribly sorry about this inconvenience. We won’t move them again.”

Thankfully, Sue was incredibly calm and asked me to explain the rationale of my original decision. I did just that. Soon after, Sue looked back at me, smiled, and said, “I understand both sides and I know how it goes. I was a manager once, too. Just know that the positive impact that you’ll make on us old folks will go a long way.”

What Is Your Next Decision?

Think about the next meaningful decision that you’ll be making personally or professionally. Before making the decision, ask yourself the following six questions:

  1. How will the decision impact your family or friends?
  2. How will the decision impact your colleagues?
  3. How will the decision impact your customers?
  4. How will the decision impact your organization?
  5. How will the decision impact the community?
  6. How will the decision impact the world?


When you’re ready, consider the impact on others, and make the right decision.

ACTION: Think about one of the bigger decisions that you have to make in the next month. Before pulling the trigger, consider the impact on others by asking yourself the six questions. Then, make the right decision.

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